L’s Bells

February 20th, 2009

I only just now found this lovely column by Oliver Burkeman about my book, “How to Live” yesterday, though it ran in the Guardian last weekend: my Google Alert has not been so, uh, alert of late.

I’d like to tell you that the column’s legacy is my increased appreciation for the columnist’s grandmother or for neurobiologist Lawrence Katz, both of whom have great quotes in the piece. But, truth be told, I have mostly been fixating (admittedly narcissistically) on the fact that “How to Live” is herein called “marvellous.” There’s something about that extra “l” in the British “marvellous”  that positively unbuckles me. Indeed, I have been experimenting with putting an auxiliary representative of this high-backed consonant into other adulatory adjectives as an intensifier, to use when discussing people I feel strongly about. So far: